10/27/10 First Day After Liberation

I slept through the night, and the only inconvenience from the surgery I experienced was to keep the wound dressing dry as I bathed the following morning. I woke up around 7:00 and didn't have my legs shake as they usually do upon wake up. I noticed I didn’t wake up with a headache. I got up, and walked to the bathroom, and immediately noticed a difference. I felt strength in my calf and ankle. I didn't have to brace myself.

I found my bathroom tendency hadn’t changed overnight, and I had to press my stomach (Crede) to empty as before. But I noticed that I was getting more drainage with each press.

But the story today is my legs. All I wanted to do was walk around. I walked up and down the hall in the hotel, and I felt things in my legs I hadn’t felt in a long time. My gait felt more normal, with spring in my steps. I looked down at my feet. The swelling was gone and I saw the veins and tendons on the back of my left foot for the first time in 2 years. I picked things up off the floor a bunch of times, using both legs instead of propping myself and making a big production of it.

Kathy and I then went downstairs to go for a walk around Downtown Disney. This is an area just outside of Disneyland with shops and such. Only two nights before, Kathy and I had walked the same area, and walking really was a struggle. Inclines were difficult, and my left quadricep screamed, full of lactic acid, like I had just run a marathon. At one point, we went by the pool which was under construction, and around the edge there is a low concrete border that can be used as both a bench or as a step up. Kathy noticed all the work being done and stepped up onto the wall, and I remember deciding against following her up there. Now, only 18 hours after the procedure, I not only walked around Downtown Disney with Kathy, but I stepped up on the little wall to see into the construction area. I ended up doing it about 20 times just to confirm it was real.

I couldn’t believe it. I could balance better, and my walking was much more normal. I had a big problem walking around in crowds before, and I found my control and sensory input was improved so significantly that I could easily walk in amongst the crowds, making those little adjustments on our feet and legs that other people don’t even think about. I had spring in my step, and the quadricep heaviness/lag was gone. Yes, gone. We walked around the area for a solid hour or so.

With my legs beginning to tire, we went to a movie to kill a couple of hours, and then to the follow up appointment with Dr. Arata at 4:00. In the examination room, we shared the results with him. He was certainly happy for me, but not surprised. He told me that my bowel and bladder functions should slowly start to restore in a couple of weeks, and that I should slowly begin to see more and more deficiencies restored. He wasn’t able to tell me if I could expect a complete recovery or what sequence things would restore, just that things should start to normalize over time to some degree.

Outside the follow up appointment, my legs still working but clearly tired from all of the things I asked them to do just a day after surgery, we saw the couple we had met at Monday’s MRV going in to their follow up appointment. She had done her surgery and reported she had noticed more energy, better bladder control, sat in the sun feeling good, and some other small improvements. Both the lady and her husband looked liked the world had been lifted off their chest and they felt there was hope. We traded emails and phone numbers so we could keep in touch. We also met another couple that had just done their consult and were going in for the surgery the following day. We traded our stories and contact information with them too.

It was pretty exciting to feel such a change in my legs so soon. I walked around a lot today. I probably walked 3-4 times more than I have walked on a typical day in the past few months. My legs are tired, but they are tired in a different way than two days ago. Individual muscles feel tired, from lack of use and the compensating way I have learned to walk. I will curb too much enthusiasm for now, as I know I am not healed, cured, or otherwise, but I think I have restored hope that I will indeed complete the task that this blog was laid out to achieve. I'm used to hard work and pursing goals, and it feels to me like I have something to pursue in the recovery of my legs. How this feels to me is the neurological issue has been cleared for the muscular repair to now take place. Dr. Arata seems to agree, so let's see how it goes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

I'm in hotel in Costa Mesa. I had the procedure 2 days ago by Dr. Arata. I haven't seen any improvement so it was reassuring to read yours. I'm still hopeful. I wish he had let me watch it. I'm a retired OR nurse so I would have loved to have seen the procedure.
I hope you continue to improve.